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Archive for the ‘Ecumenical Quakerism’ Category

NOTE – The blog below is not my latest blog. To find more recent blogs, browse through the “Archives” section to the lower right.  ——>  ——>  ——>
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NEWS FLASHClick here to read about Malone University’s Spring 2013 Chapel schedule, showing its increasing emphasis on occultish Spiritual Formation/Contemplative Spirituality.
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(revised 01/04/15)

I gave up on my former denomination (Evangelical Friends Church International aka EFCI) long ago, and in recent years I have encouraged individuals via my blogs to separate from the denomination.

Let me get one thing straight – I don’t  “hate” the Evangelical Friends denomination. On the contrary, I love what the Evangelical Friends once stood for. Specifically, I loved Ohio Yearly Meeting (Gurneyite) up until 1965, with its gospel hymns such as “Power in the Blood” and “There is a Fountain Filled With Blood”, its salvation messages,  and its altar calls. And yes, the OYM (like many denominations then) used the King James Version only. And we had only organs and pianos – no guitars or drums or Contemporary Christian Music. But all that was soon to change. (Some proponents of Bible versions and CCM may have good intentions. Unfortunately, over the years, heretical teachings have become increasingly widespread in many Bible versions and CCM songs.)

But I digress. Back to the Evangelical Friends: I believe that, in 1965, OYM (today the Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region or EFC-ER) lost its biblical mooring when it joined with more liberal Evangelical Friends Yearly Meetings to form the Evangelical Friends Alliance (now Evangelical Friends Church International or EFCI). Pre-1965 OYM and today’s EFC-ER are like day and night theologically.  Today I am extremely discontent with the theological positions of EFC-ER and EFCI; I would never consider becoming a member again.

I am not alone in my discontent. Many online discernment ministries (ODMs) have spoken out against EFCI professors and leaders – and Quakers in general – yet have met fierce resistance from supposedly born again EFCI individuals. One discernment leader, James Sundquist (click here and here), wrote this to George Fox University Vice President and Dean Chuck Conniry in 2010 [see entire letter here]:

I can’t see how the Scriptures you quote specifically refute any of my charges or any charges against [GFU adjunct professor] Leonard Sweet by myself, Richard Bennett (Berean Beacon), Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries, Warren Smith, Roger Oakland, Deborah Dombrowski of Lighthouse Trails, or Sandy Simpson of Apologetics Coordination Team.

Additional ODMs which have written about and/or confronted EFCI professors and Quakerism are  David Cloud  and Dr. K.B. Napier. And this is just the tip of the iceberg – many more ODMs have exposed the heresies of contemplative Evangelical Friend Richard Foster specifically.

In recent years many EFCI administrators, professors, pastors and youth leaders have become Emerging/Emergent. They like Emerging/Emergent heretics such as Rob Bell, Ken Blanchard, Bob Buford, Tony Campolo (click here and here), Shane Claiborne, David Crowder, Mark Driscoll, Peter Drucker, Richard Foster, Stanley Grenz, Bill Hybels, Dan Kimball, Tony Jones, Brennan Manning (click here and here), Brian McLaren, Erwin McManus, Donald Miller, Henri Nouwen, John Ortberg, Doug Pagitt, Eugene Peterson, John Piper, Andy Stanley, Ed Stetzer, Leonard Sweet, Frank Viola, Jim Wallis, Rick Warren, Dallas Willard, etc. etc. Because of the EFCI leadership’s continuing support for these Emerging/Emergent heretics, the denomination is probably beyond hope. (Unfortunately, the EFCI is just one of many denominations which are falling away into apostasy. Click here for a directory of many more Wesleyan Holiness denominations which are swallowing the same heresies, hook, line and sinker.)

Note – I would suggest you make a list of all the authors your church leaders quote in sermons, Sunday School classes, etc., then research the authors to see if they are contemplative/Emerging/Emergent.

Consider these excerpts regarding George Fox University and George Fox Evangelical Seminary, reposted here:

March 22nd, 2007 | Author: Lighthouse Trails Editors

The Missional Matrix conference [broken link] is being held this weekend at the Vineyard Community Church in Shoreline Washington. George Fox University (a strong proponent of contemplative spirituality) is sponsoring the event, and speakers include Scot McKnight (author of The Real Mary; see our related article below), and Todd Hunter, North American president of the Alpha Course and a proponent of the Emerging Church…

Unfortunately, contemplative and Emerging Church leaders identify the meaning of these “twists and turns” in a most unscriptural manner. McKnight is a major catalyst for the current sway by evangelicals towards Catholicism while Hunter is a partner with Renovare (Richard Foster’s organization). In addition, George Fox University [as well as George Fox Evangelical Seminary] is a hub of contemplative/emerging activity with a list of adjunct professors [and visiting professors at GFES] that includes Dan Kimball and Leonard Sweet. In 2005, George Fox hired [broken link] Todd Hunter, Leonard Sweet and Brian McLaren to teach certain classes, and chapel speakers at the university have included Richard Foster and Brennan Manning. Recommended and required reading for classes at George Fox include a wide assortment of staunch contemplatives/mystics like Thomas Keating, Henri Nouwen, and Thomas Merton.

I think you get the point…

Moving on, I have written a number of blogs pointing out various heresies invading the EFCI. The readership response has been very encouraging, and positive for the most part.  I praise the Lord for all the Evangelical Friends who are taking an interest in these blogs.

Regarding specific heresies in the EFCI (in addition to Emerging/Emergent teachings), check out this excerpt from one of my other major blogs:

Some in the EFCI (Evangelical Friends Church International) have suggested I be more “positive” in my denominational blogs.  Currently I don’t have very much positive to say about the EFCI, due to the involvement of most of its Regions in the following heresies. These are in roughly chronological order; dates are approximate:

1) Failure to confront and condemn Quaker Universalism (aka George Fox’s Inward Light/Inner Light teaching) in non-evangelical Quaker denominations (1948 on)
2) New Evangelicalism (1948 on)
3) Quaker ecumenism (1970 on)
4) Spiritual Formation (1978 on)
5) Emerging/Emergent/Emergence teachings (1995 on)
6) Postmillenial Emerging/Emergent/Kingdom Now eschatology (1995 on)
7) The Convergent Friends movement (1995 on)
8 ) Accommodation of an IHOP college group (2008 on)

In the EFC-ER’s favor, it seems the EFC-ER is still the most biblically sound of the EFCI Regions in North America. Click here for a history of Ohio Yearly Meeting (OYM, later renamed EFC-ER) during the “biblically sound” years of 1854-1965. I thank the Lord I was in OYM during part of this godly time period.

Yes, you heard me right: the EFC-ER is still the most biblically sound of the EFCI Regions in North America. Unfortunately, certain individuals in the EFC-ER are allowing the above mentioned heretical teachings to come in to the EFC-ER –  many via professors and pastors “transferring in” from other denominations (“non-evangelical Quakers” and non-Quaker Emerging/ Emergent evangelical denominations such as the Nazarenes), as well as the other more liberal Emerging/Emergent Regions of the EFCI.

To make matters worse, some of the leaders of the EFC-ER are also leaders of the EFCI. And they have let the “tail wag the dog,” so to speak. Since various Evangelical Friends yearly meetings merged in 1965 into the Evangelical Friends Alliance (now the EFCI), the “progressive evangelical” NWYM (Northwest Yearly Meeting), particularly, has increasingly held sway over the theological positions of the EFCI. To put it another way: the physical headquarters of the EFCI is in the EFC-ER; the theological/ideological headquarters of the EFCI is in NWYM. And the leadership of the EFCI has gone along with the NWYM leadership – in a big way. Unfortunately, many members of the EFC-ER are not aware of this ungodly accommodation of the NWYM (as well as the other increasingly “progressive evangelical”  Regions) by the EFCI leadership. (Click here for links to all the Regions of the EFCI.)

I’m trying to “be nice” here, not mentioning names of individuals (particularly individuals I have not yet spoken with or corresponded with). But I feel compelled to speak out against false doctrine. This is what God’s Word commands us to do.

An official high in the EFCI was kind enough to respond to my concerns somewhat (see the comments at the bottom of this blog). But after several messages back and forth, this official declined to correspond any further, stating that I am “being divisive.”

At first I took umbrage at being referred to divisive. Like many loved ones before me who were born again, biblically sound Evangelical Friends pastors and missionaries, I believe strongly in the born again, biblically sound salvation message preached by Evangelical Friends – including J. Walter Malone – between approx. 1854-1965. I would label myself a “separatist fundamentalist Gurneyite Quaker/Evangelical Friend.” Separatist fundamentalism is  the traditional view  of the Evangelical Friends. If I defend this traditional standard of the Evangelical Friends – and am called “divisive” for my stand – something is seriously wrong with the current theological state of the EFCI.

To summarize, yes, I am being “divisive” – in a sense. I am being divisive towards the heretics who have invaded the EFCI. These heretics  themselves are being divisive to the born again Body of Christ. They are hijacking the biblically sound doctrinal stance of the EFCI.

Speaking of “hijacking” the EFCI: I would say the most infamous heretic in the EFCI has been Spiritual Formation’s Richard Foster, who grew up in the EFA/EFCI. Throughout Foster’s life, the EFCI has always welcomed him with open arms. God help the EFCI. If the EFCI had cut off Foster at the outset and condemned his teachings, perhaps we would not see the theological devastation and apostasy of occultish contemplative spirituality across evangelicalism today.

Regarding the gospel message – traditionally the core of the term “evangelicalism” – we are losing the born again message of  salvation through Jesus Christ. We all need to wake up before it’s too late. When is the last time you heard the “negative” aspects of the  salvation message in an EFCI school or church? Namely:

1) “Hellfire and brimstone” preaching of God’s damnation to Hell of those who reject Christ: 18b) … he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  19) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:18b-19, KJV). Also, 12a) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life… 15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  (Rev. 20:12a,15, KJV).

2)  The bloody sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, our Atonement, providing eternal life to all those who turn from sin and accept Him as their Saviour. Think of Christ’s bloody, gory suffering – this is the brutality our Saviour bore for us:  4) Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (Isa. 53:4-7, KJV).

The last time I personally remember hearing a hymn about the Blood in the EFC-ER, was when Earl Smith led the song “Power in the Blood” at Yearly Meeting in the early 1970s. Folks, that’s forty years ago – sad!

Listen to the following song, entitled “Nothing But the Blood (Still Saves the Lost)”. describes how the message of the Blood and the Cross has virtually disappeared from many evangelical churches in recent decades. If you feel uncomfortable hearing this song, you need to get right with God! The message of the Blood and the Cross is what Christianity is all about. It is an abomination when churches omit this message – or water it down – to avoid turning off seekers (unsaved attenders). Here’s the song:

Regarding the EFC-ER today,  I do have some words of encouragement.  I believe there is still hope theologically for individuals throughout the EFC-ER – even if the EFC-ER leaders (administrators, professors, pastors and youth leaders) will not listen. I believe there is hope for individuals here and there in the other Regions of the EFCI as well – although change may be more difficult. Some of the most encouraging and influential supporters of this blogsite are from EFCI Regions outside the EFC-ER.

As I continue to see and hear of heresies invading  the EFC-ER, I will be blogging about individual “invaders”/”hijackers” in Malone University and in specific churches. I am still trying to avoid criticizing EFC-ER members by name at this point. My main objective is not to attack or hurt anyone, but to help attenders of Malone University and various EFC-ER churches to:

1) See the invading heresies,

2) Join with myself and other concerned Evangelical Friends in protesting loudly, and

3) If nothing changes, leave for biblically sound churches. Currently I recommend three groups/denominations:

#1) Certain kinds of Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches – see this Ohio Baptist directory adapted from David Cloud. (Note especially the churches with three asterisks; these are the churches where Bro. Cloud has spoken, and which he recommends personally. And here are the traits Bro.  Cloud looks for, in placing Baptist churches in his directory. I realize that, doctrinally, IFB churches are somewhat different from the Wesleyan Holiness heritage of the Evangelical Friends. Yet, of all denominations and independent churches in America today, I believe these Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches are closest in faith and practice to the Evangelical Friends churches of approx. 1900-1950.

#2) Conservative Holiness churches – see this Wikipedia article as well as this blog.

#3) Free Will Baptist churches – see this blog.

Each of the above three groups has their own distinctive teachings, as well as pros and cons. No matter which group(s) you decide to check out, make sure the churches you are visiting still use the KJV (aka Authorized Version) only. Almost inevitably, churches that sympathize with other per-versions end up falling prey to false teachings/heresies.

Following are the websites of Malone University and the EFC-ER churches, so you can see for yourself what’s going on. I am considering writing critiques of Malone and various churches; these critiques will include discussions of  “problem areas” (aka heresies).  I’m sure there are some in the EFCI who will view these critiques as divisive – but in these End Times I believe we need to wake up, and wake up fast. Evangelical denominations including the EFCI are literally being torn apart by Spiritual Formation and Emerging/Emergent teachings (among other heresies).

I know a number of you at “problem churches” (churches accommodating heresies) in the EFC-ER have already spoken up and/or left for biblically sound churches. I believe the Lord is pleased with your actions. For those of you who currently need help battling the invasion of heresies in Malone University or EFC-ER churches, please contact us. (You can reach us via the Comment box at the bottom of this blog; comments will be kept private unless you wish them to be published). We’re here to help. And together – with God’s help – I believe we can make a difference for eternity.

Just a word about exposing and confronting false teachers. In the past, if I were upset with a pastor’s doctrinal errors, I would simply leave the church and attend elsewhere. After all, I figured, the pastor was still a “man of God” and should not be “attacked”, right? Since then I have changed my position on this. If a pastor is teaching serious error, his other followers need to be made aware of this. (The trick is how to do this in a “loving” way.) If a pastor or church leader does not expose the false teachings of another pastor or church leader, he himself becomes a false teacher. Click here for a blog explaining my position in more detail.

Now on to the EFC-ER directory (click here to access the original listing, under EFC-ER’s “Directory” menu item). To show a church’s size, I’ve added the average Sunday morning attendance between January 1, 2009-December 31, 2009 (source: 2010 Yearbook – EFC-ER).

Church size is important. It seems almost a rule of thumb that large evangelical churches (say 500+ attenders) become spiritual “conduits” for bringing in heretical teachings. For example, currently I am closely following a number of large EFC-ER churches in addition to Malone University. These large churches are doing most if not all of the following:

– Using the church growth principles found in Dan Kimball’s Emerging/ Emergent book The Emerging Church
– Pushing “new ways of doing church”
– Promoting “missional” outreach (the “social gospel” repackaged)
– Using Eugene Peterson’s heretical The Message paraphrase in sermons and bulletins
– Downplaying or eliminating senior programs and traditional services in favor of  blended services and contemporary services
– Replacing pianos and organs with full bands (complete with full drum sets behind glass panes)
– Providing coffee bars and sofas in their lobbies
– Building new “campuses” that resemble schools not churches, with movable chairs in their gymnasium-like “sanctuaries”
– And so on…

Notice a common theme? While making church more appealing to “seekers”/ newcomers, all these changes have reduced our reverence for the Lord, our “holiness unto the Lord.”

Also, all these postmodern practices are encouraged by heretical Emerging/ Emergents. And there are many more red flags to watch for. Click here to see many more traits of an Emerging church – how many of these traits are present in your EFC-ER church?

On a more personal note: in discussing the EFC-ER, I have mixed feelings. I feel very close to many individuals in many churches – I feel rather guilty for seemingly “attacking” the EFC-ER. On the other hand, I  believe the EFC-ER’s “theological situation” needs to be watched very closely. We need more “watchmen on the wall” to stand up against incoming heresies.  Satan knows his time is short before Christ’s return – Satan and his minions are doing everything they can to destroy the Body of Christ.

EFC-ER DIRECTORY of individuals, Malone University and churches

I’m providing this info here – including website links Facebook links – not to attack individuals, but for readers to question them directly regarding their doctrinal positions, and the doctrinal positions of the EFC-ER and EFCI. Some individuals are biblically sound, while others are questionable. I will not single out heretical individuals at this point – readers can correspond, ask, discuss, and conclude for themselves which individuals are spreading the heresies I listed at the beginning of this blog.

Be discerning and be persistent in your questions. Some individuals (particularly the elderly) may sincerely be unaware of Emerging/Emergent heresies invading the EFCI (for example Richard Foster, Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, etc. teaching at George Fox University and Seminary). Other individuals may be aware of at least some of the  heresies invading the denomination; they may be very helpful and give you the straight scoop on the heresies they’re aware of. On the other hand, those who support these heresies may deny their approval/involvement, skirt the subject, or say things like “Dave Mosher and those old fundamentalist Gurneyite Friends are being divisive – they don’t really know what they’re talking about.”

Yes, we are being divisive! We are concerned about all the heresies I mentioned near the beginning of this blog, that are invading the EFC-ER and the EFCI. And we care more about the true Body of Christ and the eternal salvation of souls, than about an ecumenical quasi-unity with nonevangelical (nonchristian) Quaker denominations and groups (the Convergent Friends movement).

Now on to my EFC-ER directory:

EFC-ER ADMINISTRATION (as of 2012)

EFC-ER World Outreach Center (click here for the EFC-ER website)

Dr. John P. Williams Jr. (EFC-ER General Superintendent, head of EFCI)
EFC-ER bio

Ken Albright (EFC-ER Southern Area Superintendent) –EFC-ER bio

Quint Bryan (Youth Leadership Resources for EFC-ER, pastor of Sebring Evangelical FC) – Facebook status page

Dr. Wayne Evans (EFC-ER Florida & Western Area Superintendent, EFCI Treasurer) – EFC-ER bio
Facebook status page

Chris Jackson (EFC-ER Eastern Area Superintendent) EFC-ER bio
Facebook status page

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS (as of 2012)

Malone University 

Administration

Dr. David A. King,  University President –  Dr. King is also on the Board of Trustees; this blog contains several links to info about Dr. King

Donald L. Tucker, Provost (see this article describing the duties of a provost)

Board of Trustees
(I am trying to list only individuals closely associated with the Evangelical Friends as of November 2012; many trustees are people in the community who have no real input regarding the religious aspects of Malone)

Stan Anderson, M.D.

Mark B. Benedict, Attorney

H. David Brandt, Ph.D.
President Emeritus, George Fox University, Newberg, Ore.

Daniel D. Cale, Pastor, Hughesville Friends Church, Hughesville, Pa.

Thomas Crawford, D. Min.
Pastor, Morningside Friends Church, Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Shu-Ling Sharon Kao-Huang
Evangelical Friends Church Minister, Elementary School Educator, Kent

Rhonda J. Mitchell, N.D.

David P. Murray, J.D., Attorney

David R. Van Valkenburg
Chairman, Balfour Associates, Inc.

Stephen T. Weingart
Manager, FedEx Custom Critical, Canton

Dr. John P. Williams Jr. (EFC-ER General Superintendent, head of EFCI)
EFC-ER bio

Office of Spiritual Formation

Randy Heckert, University Chaplain

Linda Leon, Director of Spiritual Formation

Theology Dept.

Larry D. Reinhart, Dept. Chair
Facebook status page

Bryan C. Hollon
Facebook status page

Greg Linville

Stephen K. Moroney

Suzanne Nicholson

D. Nathan Phinney

William P. Quigley (Instructor of Youth Ministries)

Joel Soza
Facebook status page

Duane F. Watson

History Dept.

Jacalynn Stuckey Welling (teaches Quaker history, etc.)

Former professors

John David Geib

John Oliver

Alumni

Paul Anderson

C. Wess Daniels

Joel Daniel Harris

David Johns

David Williams
Bio (PDF document)

EVANGELICAL FRIENDS PASTORS FORMERLY IN EFC-ER

Adrian Halverstadt

Joe Roher (Pastor Joe is now a Spiritual Director, and Pastor Emeritus of Friendswood, TX Friends Church)

EFC-ER CHURCHES AND PASTORS
I am mainly including links to pastors and youth leaders, as I find them. Note 01/4/15: Numbers in parentheses are number of attenders as of 2012. Also note: many pastors and youth leaders have relocated since 2012. For the most recent directory info go to http://www.efcer.org

Central Ohio District

Alum Creek FC (97)(church link on EFC-ER website does not work as of 02/09/12)
– Greg Rice (senior pastor) – Facebook status page
Columbus-Friends Worship Center (79)
Gilead FC (441)[church link on EFC-ER website does not work as of 02/09/12]
Brian Mosher (Senior Pastor)
Mansfield First FC (33)[church link on EFC-ER website does not work as of 02/09/12]
Orange FC (101)
– David Mabry (lead pastor) – Facebook status page
Valleyview Evangelical FC (73)
Water of Life Evangelical FC (44)
Facebook Page

Eastern Ohio District

East Richland Evangelical FC (834)
website (this link is more recent than the non-working link on the EFC-ER website)
Jerry Wenger (Senior Pastor)
Wayne Ickes (Pastor Emeritus)
Jamie & Erin Roten (Youth Pastor & Female Youth Director)
Kara Wenger (Director of College Age Ministries)
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Mount Pleasant FC (134)
Smithfield Evangelical FC (33)
Springdale FC (31)

Northeastern Ohio District

Akron Community FC (23)
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Alliance First FC (416)
church Facebook Page
Frederick O. “Rick” Sams (pastor) – Facebook status page
Debbie Noble (youth pastor)
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Beloit FC (70)
Brewster Evangelical FC (46)
– Vance Z. Weeks (pastor) – Facebook status page
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Canton First FC (1259)
Stan Hinshaw (Lead Pastor) – Facebook status page
Joel Daniel Harris (Middle School Youth Pastor)
Chris King (High School Ministry Pastor) – Facebook status page
Ben Walters (Director of Young Adult Ministries and Discipleship)
– Marva Lee Hoopes, Pastor of Children’s Ministry – Facebook status page
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Damascus FC (736)
John P. Ryser (Pastor)
Steve Lowe (Associate Pastor)
Alex Feldman (Youth Pastor)
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Deerfield Evangelical FC (135)
East Goshen FC (82)
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Jackson FC (934)
David Tebbs (Pastor)
Zack Rambaud (Associate Pastor/Youth Pastor)
Scott “Moby” Dick (Director of Sports and Recreation/Director of Middle School Youth)
Jeff Gilliland (Senior High School Intern)(as of Jan. 2012)
Bob Robinson (Director of Young Adults)
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Lisbon-Trinity FC (143)
Poland-Bethel Evangelical FC (174)
———————————————————————————————–
Salem First FC (432)
Facebook Page
John Pierce (Senior Pastor)
Pete Fowler (Associate Pastor) – Facebook status page
Mike Barnes (Youth Ministry Intern)(as of Feb. 2012)
————————————————————————————————
Salem-Southeast FC (73)
Sebring Evangelical FC (86)
– Quint Bryan (pastor, also holds Youth Leadership Resources administrative position in EFC-ER) – Facebook status page
Winona Evangelical FC (254)

(listed in 2010 EFC-ER Yearbook only, not on EFC-ER website):
Kent Chinese (35)

Northern Ohio District

Barberton Evangelical FC (82)
Boston Heights and Taiwanese FC (47)
Broadview Heights Evangelical FC (204)
Cleveland-Community FC (17)
Cleveland-West Park Evangelical FC (41)
Cornerstone Evangelical FC (433)
– Mark Winner (senior pastor) – Facebook status page
Morningstar FC (313
North Olmsted Evangelical FC (562)
Pelham Evangelical FC (90)
Wadsworth-Bethany FC (61)
Willoughby Hills Evangelical FC (1064)
– Kevin Young (senior pastor) – Facebook status page

(listed in 2010 EFC-ER Yearbook only, not on EFC-ER website):
Toronto Hispanic (45)

Western Ohio District

Bellefontaine First FC (51)
Byhalia FC (43)
Fulton Creek Evangelical FC (115)
Goshen FC (198)
Mount Carmel FC (106)
Shiloh Chapel – Evangelical FC (240)
– Andy Albertini (senior pastor) – Facebook status page
Somersville FC (16)
Urbana Evangelical FC (59)
Van Wert – Trinity FC (419)
West Mansfield FC (7)

Colonial District

Evangelical Friends – Newport (252)
Hughesville Evangelical FC (292)
– Dan Cale (senior pastor) – Facebook status page
Portsmouth FC (44)

(listed in 2010 EFC-ER Yearbook only, not on EFC-ER website):
Baltimore Hispanic (125)
Kingston Hispanic (140)
Philadelphia Hispanic (120)
Philadelphia West Hispanic (90)

Florida District

Morningside FC (1654)

(listed in 2010 EFC-ER Yearbook only, not on EFC-ER website):
Brooklyn Haitian (100)
Miami Haitian (280)
Tabernacle Haitian (55)
Union Haitian (48)

Michigan District

Battle Creek Evangelical FC (393)
– John Grafton (Youth and Outreach Pastor, Worship Leader) – Facebook status page
Lupton FC (77)
Raisin Center FC (60)
Raisin Valley FC (83)
Riverbend FC (86)
Rollin FC (51)
Ypsilanti Evangelical FC (89)

(listed in 2010 EFC-ER Yearbook only, not on EFC-ER website):
Chicago Hispanic (55)

Piedmont District

Cornerstone Community Church (110)
Danville – Ferry Road Evangelical FC (49)
Danville – Longview Evangelical FC (52)
Eden – Immanuel FC (90)
Greensboro – Hunter Hills FC (50)
Martinsville – Trinity FC (55)
New Life Community
(147)
Pine Mountain FC (22)
Pleasant View Evangelical FC (39)
Putnam Evangelical FC (48)
Rock Hill Evangelical FC (60)

(listed in 2010 EFC-ER Yearbook only, not on EFC-ER website):
Iglesia de Jesuchristo Rocka Viva – Greensboro (75)
Iglesia de Jesuchristo Rocka Viva – Raleigh (40)

Virginia District

Achilles FC (27)
Colony FC  (53) (Newport Colony FC)
Hampton – First FC (149)
Hanover Evangelical FC (196) (Richmond Hanover Evangelical FC)
Living Hope Evangelical FC (33)
New Point FC
(22)
Peniel Evangelical FC (18)
Portsmouth – First FC (49)
Rescue Evangelical FC (23)
Facebook Page
Virginia Beach – Providence FC (89)

Read Full Post »

(revised 10/22/11)[blog under construction]

I stumbled across this fascinating article by Quaker universalist Chuck Fager. In spite of his heretical views, Fager has been very helpful in confirming what I have said all along: various Gurneyite Quakers (aka Evangelical Friends) were on opposite sides of Quaker ecumenism.

Specifically, Edward Mott (along with J. Walter Malone) strongly opposed Quaker ecumenism. Dr. Everett L. Cattell (as well as Walter R. Williams and Byron L. Osborne) favored Quaker ecumenism. I knew Dr. Cattell and his two cohorts personally; I deeply respected and admired all three men in the past. But upon learning of their ecumenical stance, I feel deeply betrayed. I stand squarely in Edward Mott’s corner, opposing Quaker ecumenism.

Chuck Fager’s article shows remarkable insight by a man who strongly rejects the born again message of salvation (“Christ as Lord and Saviour”, not just “Christ as Teacher and Lord”). I find it equally remarkable today that many Evangelical Friends cannot discern the dangers of ecumenism in general, and Quaker ecumenism specifically.

Click here for the original text of Fager’s article. I am emphasizing certain points by bolding, and inserting comments in [brackets].

QUAKERS OF THE YEAR: EVERETT CATTELL AND EDWARD MOTT
(Chuck Fager, A Friendly Letter, January 1985)

Forty months ago, in Issue #6 of this letter, I wrote optimistically that the spirit of divisiveness [this shows Fager’s bias – it is not “divisive” to stand up for the biblically sound doctrines of separatist, fundamentalist, born again Gurneyite Quakerism; also, Fager knows full well that where Quaker ecumenism has crept in, doctrinal compromise has always followed] seemed definitely on the wane among Friends, substantially replaced by that of ecumenical dialogue [“dialogue” always means compromise, as David Cloud points out here] and cooperation. Yet in the past year, it has become clear that a struggle between these conflicting attitudes is continuing and may well be intensifying, and that its outcome is by no means clear.

Two men in particular, Edward Mott and Everett Cattell, seem to me to epitomize these contrasting attitudes. While both are deceased, their statements and attitudes still sum up best the forces at work among us. Indeed, repeatedly in 1984 it almost seemed as if I were witnessing a clash between these two eminences, which has led me to nominate them as Quakers of the Year. Both were evangelicals, Mott from Oregon(now Northwest) YM [actually Mott served in New York Yearly Meeting (Gurneyite), then in Ohio YM (Gurneyite), then in Oregon YM (Gurneyite)], Cattell from Ohio YM, now the Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region. Mott was prominent in  the 1920s through the 1940s, as clerk of Oregon YM and a well-known preacher; Cattell spent most of these years as a missionary in India, returning as president of Malone College in Ohio. Both were active in Quaker ecumenical relations, but from almost exactly opposite directions, and to opposite effect. [Interestingly, Mott and Cattell both were connected with Cleveland Bible College, which later became Malone College- now Malone University. Yet Mott and Cattell held opposite views regarding Quaker ecumenism.]

Does Continuing the Conversation spell Death?

Everett Cattell, while a lifelong, committed evangelical, was also a pioneer of
recent Quaker ecumenical contacts. Two of his most memorable statements in this regard came out of the 1970 St. Louis Conference of Friends leaders, the first when he admitted candidly, “I struggle in my heart to define what a Quaker is today. I do not know the answer.” The second remark came later, when as conference chair he gravely recommended, “Let the conversation continue.” [I would not say Cattell “gravely” recommended this; on the contrary he seemed thrilled to recommend this over the protests from some other Evangelical Friends at the Conference.]

Cattell’s remarks and attitudes contrast starkly with those of Edward Mott. As he [Mott] stated plainly in his memoirs,

“Orthodoxy and heterodoxy cannot coalesce… The attempt to fellowship and work with unbelievers (which is what he considered other varieties of Friends –Ed. [Fager]) spells death. Any conclusion to the contrary is ruinous to all concerned.” [Mott was right – events since 1970 have shown that, as stated above, ecumenical ventures with non-evangelical Quakers has always been followed by doctrinal compromise.]

At an All-Friends Conference in 1928, he [Mott] delivered a speech intended, he said, “To thwart the very purpose for which the conference was held, the promotion of fellowship among the groups.” (It [Mott’s intent] largely succeeded, too.) As Clerk of Oregon YM he led it out of the Five Years Meeting (later renamed Friends United Meeting), and pushed successfully to cut its ties with the AFSC [American Friends Service Committee]. He railed repeatedly against the moves toward yearly meeting reunification then underway in Philadelphia, New England and elsewhere. Mott’s sentiments were sincere and consistent, and not unusual among fundamentalists of his generation, Quaker and otherwise.

Dealing With a Born-Again Separatist Movement

For his part, Everett Cattell did not minimize his differences with liberal Friends. Yet his was an evangelicalism which, contrary to Mott, was able to conclude at St. Louis that “There are good reasons for continuing dialogue with such folk… ” Again, like Mott, Cattell practiced what he preached, both among Friends and other denominations. [What Fager failed to mention here, is that Dr. Cattell was a New Evangelical. New Evangelicals have no problem “dialoguing” with non-evangelical denominations and establishing ecumenical ties.]

If Cattell’s attitude was in the ascendant only three years ago, what has happened to put these sentiments in eclipse? Much of the answer, I believe, can be found in a recently-published, widely-read book by a very influential non-Quaker fundamentalist: The Great Evangelical Disaster, by the late Francis Schaeffer. It is a clarion call to action by conservative Christians in denominations which are, in Schaeffer’s view, fatally infected with notions of “the pluralistic church.” Such a body is one in which there is room for more than his brand of theology, based on his view of the Bible as “objective, absolute truth in all the areas it touches upon,” and the interpretations he draws from it. Most Friends groups would fall in to this category [of pluralistic churches], even many of the evangelical ones [I’m assuming Fager was referring to “progressive evangelical” churches here, such as those in NWYM. Remember, Fager wrote this in 1985 – and Evangelical Friends heretic Richard Foster, for example, had been active in NWYM since before 1978]. Schaeffer’s manifesto is not only widely-read; the outlook it expresses is also being heeded by many, , as a platform for action. [“Some” is the key word here. By 1985, many Evangelical Friends had become “brainwashed” as New Evangelicals, increasingly accepting the concept of pluralism to one degree or another. Many of these “New Evangelical” Friends did not take Schaeffer’s manifesto to heart. Granted, they may have stayed away from denominations belonging to the ecumenical National Council of Churches. Yet they saw little danger in ecumenical ties with heretical non-evangelical Quaker denominations.]

Schaeffer calls on his adherents to “stand clearly for the principle of the purity of the visible church… ” To do this will require “discipline of those who do not take a proper position in regard to the teaching of Scripture.” This discipline is to be imposed at all levels and in all settings of church activity, because “the church belongs to those who by the grace of God are faithful to the Scriptures.” However, if “a denomination comes to a place where such discipline cannot operate,” then the orthodox members must prepare “to step out.” (Quotes from Schaeffer, pp. 55, 74, 82, 85, 87.)

In the light of these passages, both the rationale of many recent events and the
echoes of Edward Mott’s broadsides against association with “Hicksite modernistic Friends” of half a century ago are unmistakable. For that matter, Schaeffer also hears echoes of the 1920s and 1930s here. He insists that “we must recognize that there is a direct parallel between what happened in the early decades of this century and what we are facing today…” (p. 88)

Have we really been treated to such rhetoric as this among Friends in 1984? My answer is yes, repeatedly: in the pages of Quaker Life; at the FUM Triennial; in the flap over Elizabeth Watson and the Friends Ministers Conference (see Issues #35 and #44)[of Chuck Fager’s A Friendly Newsletter]; and in other incidents. [Unlike Fager, to all these protests against Quaker ecumenism I give a hearty “Amen!”] As these have accumulated, I have attempted to maintain the earlier optimistic attitude about the overall trend of events: I still thought I heard more of Everett Cattell in the air than of Edward Mott and Francis Schaeffer.

Riding the Wave of History Onto the Rocks of Division

But no more. In the political arena, supporters of the Schaeffer-Mott perspective [technically, Schaeffer became a New Evangelical in the 1940s or 1950s, while Mott remained a separatist fundamentalist his entire life – click here for an article providing hints of Schaeffer’s drift away from J. Gresham Machen and separatist fundamentalism] won a smashing victory in the 1984 presidential election; they feel confident they are riding the wave of history. And events show that they are determined to press ahead with their vision of a purified Christianity, in Quaker circles as elsewhere. Indeed, they can hardly do otherwise: as Schaeffer and Mott repeatedly pointed out, their basic principles are at stake; this is a matter of conscience for them.

What will be the outcome of such efforts? If the parallels with 50 years ago hold true, they will likely yield a melancholy harvest of separations, bitterness and recriminations, even among the orthodox. That is due not least to the fact that their Number One targets for “discipline” are not liberals–who are considered already lost–as much as other evangelicals, particularly those who are prepared to tolerate liberals in an “unpurified,” pluralistic Quakerism. Schaeffer admits and laments this unhappy record, and urges the church’s “true owners” to exercise their discipline over heretics in a loving spirit, rare as such a process may have been in church history, Quaker and other.

Everett Cattell On Coping With Such Campaigns

The arena in which this struggle among Friends should become most intense is
likely to be, as it long has been, Friends United Meeting. Yet it is clearly not limited to FUM. There are also several yearly meetings, spanning the continent, whose unity seems to me to be at risk from such drives to establish the “purity of the visible church” against the infiltration of pluralism. Everett Cattell understood the divisive potential of these trends, even in 1970. He called for Friends to consider some form of organizational “realignment” which would “set each other free to be himself,” and make dialogue and cooperation possible within a symbiotic relationship qf mutual respect without compromise. He argued this might be the only real alternative to eventual acrimonious ruptures.

Here as elsewhere, Everett Cattell now seems to have spoken wisely to our condition. And the question can fairly be asked: Is it now time for some Quaker bodies, faced with the likelihood of a rerun of the upheavals of the 1920s and 1930s, to explore the idea of Cattell’s realignment? And is it time for those Christian Friends who are comfortable with the diversity among Friends today to consider how best to preserve and defend their conviction in the face of this intensifying challenge?

A year ago I would have considered this whole topic a minor matter, and the names of Cattell and Mott would not have occurred to me as possible Quakers of the Year. It does not seem minor anymore; and these two, while not perhaps the happiest nominations, now seem  unquestionably the appropriate ones.

They say hindsight is 20/20. Since Fager wrote this article in 1985, the pendulum has swung away from the “Schaeffer-Mott” scenario. Richard Foster’s Spiritual Formation teachings have continued to spread like wildfire in both evangelical and non-evangelical Quaker denominations. And the Emerging/Emergent/Emergence teachings have also taken deep root in all Quaker denominations, having become popularized around 1990-1995. The EFCI is in a sad state of affairs as far as separatist fundamentalism is concerned. In fact, today EFCI leadership fully supports Dr. Cattell’s ecumenical steps at the 1970 St. Louis Conference. It appears that, if anything, Quaker denominations – evangelical and non-evangelical – are headed not for a “realignment” (aka an agreed-to split) but for an Emergent “Convergent Friends” movement. God help the Evangelical Friends, if they continue to head down this road of ecumenical Quaker apostasy.

Addendum: It would be interesting to see Chuck Fager’s analysis currently regarding the state of Quaker ecumenism – particularly involvement today by Evangelical Friends.

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(revised 05/12/14)

Some members of the Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI) have felt that my agenda for this blogsite is to create division in the EFCI. I did in fact state the following in a previous blog:

It is my prayer for the EFC-ER to separate itself from the EFC-NA, returning to the state it was prior to 1965 and the formation of the EFA [Evangelical Friends Alliance], as a separate entity.

Here is my reason for saying the above: prior to 1965, the EFC-ER (formerly called the Ohio Yearly Meeting (Gurneyite) was the only Friends/Quaker Yearly Meeting in the United States that – in my opinion – still held strongly to the biblically sound beliefs of Wesleyan Holiness Friends/Gurneyite Friends. I believe that, if it had remained its own entity, there would have been a chance for Ohio Yearly Meeting to hold on to their unique beliefs and keep them from being lost. Here is the key: to me, this separation would have included keeping out all traces of Spiritual Formation and postmodern (Emerging/Emergent/Emergence) teachings.

Now, over 45 years later, the EFC-ER shows no signs of separating from the EFCI. Nor does it appear that Spiritual Formation and postmodern teachings will disappear from the EFC-ER. How tragic!

Bottom line – I’m just trying to blog my feelings, some way, somehow, that in my mind the “pure” faith and practices of of Holiness Friends/Gurneyite Friends have died out. Or, that they are very close to dying out, as “the older generation” passes on. And as earnestly and as passionately as I can say this, I truly mourn this passing.

In his memoir, Sixty Years of Gospel Ministry, Edward Mott decades ago stated, “The attempt to fellowship and work with unbelievers [non-evangelical Quaker denominations] spells death. Any conclusion to the contrary is ruinous to all concerned.” Although Mott was referring to non-evangelical Quaker denominations, today there are many Evangelical Friends in yearly meetings/regions other than the EFC-ER whom I believe are, in reality, unbelievers.

As I have stated elsewhere, I am not the only Wesleyan Holiness Friend/Gurneyite Friend that has felt this way. I believe there is a great cloud of witnesses, including many of my deceased Friends pastor relatives and missionary relatives, who would have agreed with me that the Ohio Yearly Meeting in essence “died” when it joined the EFA in 1965, then opened the door to Spiritual Formation and Emerging/Emergent teachings. [Perhaps I should cut people some slack here. It is very possible that Ohio Yearly Meeting still would have become involved in Spiritual Formation and Emerging/Emergent teachings, even if it had not joined the EFA in 1965.]

As I look back on the recent passing of my father, a wonderful Holiness Friends/Gurneyite Friends pastor, I can’t help but think of what we have lost since 1965. Wonderful church services, the King James Version (call me old fashioned), those wonderful old gospel hymns and  choruses, testimony time, frequent salvation messages with altar calls, Sunday evening services, Wednesday night prayer meetings – all those wonderful “old fashioned” things. (I thank the Lord there are many churches – albeit outside of Quakerism – that have managed to hang on to all these church practices. These are primarily Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches.)

I have been hoping – perhaps hoping beyond hope – that Evangelical Friends would be able to converse. That Evangelical Friends would be able to follow the Quaker tradition of being a people of truth. That we would be able to openly dialogue and/or debate about these issues. I have had Evangelical Friends contact me in private, stating their disappointment and frustration that they have not been able to present their concerns openly on these very issues. Some have been afraid of offending other Evangelical Friends.  Others have been afraid of reprisal or ostracism. When did the EFCI reach this state? Why can’t the EFCI just be open and honest, telling EFC-ER members clearly how Emerging/Emergent the denomination is becoming?

And so I have created this blogsite. If it creates strife, so be it – EFC-ER members need to know what changes are transpiring in the EFCI. (I’m used to strife over theological issues – anyone who has attended seminary will know what I mean, LOL.)

Now for the good news – if any is to been seen in such a mournful situation (or angering situation, depending on which side of the fence you stand concerning my blogsite). Blogging is certainly not the most diplomatic way to get a conversation going, but a conversation has begun nonetheless. So far the conversation has been very encouraging. I’ve received more compliments than complaints from readers. A number of readers have thanked me for my research, and for opening their eyes to what is going on in the EFCI and EFC-ER.

To locate my other blogs on this denomination, simply search on my blogsite for Quakers, Friends, EFCI, EFC-ER, etc.

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[blog under construction – I have written a number of related blogs which I will be linking to this blog]

George Fox’s Universalist “Inner Light” teaching has had a deadly effect on Evangelicalism over the years. Two of the most recent big names who seem to have no problem with George Fox’s teaching on this are Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. Foster and Willard both played a huge part in popularizing Spiritual Formation, with its occultish spiritual discipline of contemplative prayer/contemplative spirituality. Interestingly, Foster and Willard co-pastored an Evangelical Friends church, and Foster actually grew up in the Evangelical Friends. Yet Foster and Willard both seem as equally comfortable with non-evangelical universalist Quakers.

I came across the following article, written by Quaker univeralist Samuel J. Chadwick. In the article, he makes a case for uniting Universalism with evangelical Christianity via George Fox’s universalist Inner Light/Inward Light teaching. I do not approve of this article. I am merely providing this article in its entirety to show how destructive George Fox’s Inner Light/Inward Light teaching has been to Evangelicalism. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [bracketing].

The entire article is also found here.

The Inward Light: How Quakerism Unites Universalism and Christianity, by Samuel D. Caldwell

We are all well aware of the long-standing tension in the Religious Society of Friends between Christianity and Universalism. Each pole of this historic tension has had its partisans over time. The Quaker Universalist Fellowship represents one pole of the contemporary debate. Evangelical Friends International [renamed Evangelical Friends Church International] is an example of a group that represents the other. Each side of the debate claims that its own view of Quakerism is the true one, and each side feels that the other side’s position is a negation of its own. Typically, the debate is cast in logically exclusivist terms: if one position is true, then the other must of necessity be false; both cannot possibly be true at the same time.

For my part, I have never accepted the terms in which the debate has been cast. It is my own view that Quakerism is neither exclusively Christian, as some Quaker Christians would have it; nor is it exclusively Universalist, as some Quaker Universalists would have it. The fact is Quakerism has always been a powerful amalgamation of both. My thesis is that not only is it possible to be both Christian and Universalist at the same time, but it has always been the very essence and peculiar genius of Quakerism to join the two in holy matrimony! I wish to explain how this is so.

Let me start with the Universalist side of the equation. What many Christian Quakers fail to understand or accept about the Quaker approach to Christianity is that it is Universalist to the core. Universalism is thoroughly embedded in the Quaker perspective precisely because it is intrinsic to our most central and distinctive religious insight: the principle of the Inner Light.

It is helpful to remind ourselves of the essential core of this important insight. Historically, it is this: God gives to every human being who comes into the world a measure of the divine spirit as a Living Witness and a Light to be inwardly guided by. Those who learn to heed the promptings of this Light within them come to be “saved” – that is, they come into fullness and wholeness of life and right relationship with God, themselves, and one another.

Those who resist, ignore, or otherwise deny the workings of this pure spirit within them, though they make a profession of faith, are “condemned” – that is, they become alienated from God, from themselves, and from one another. The chief end of religious life, therefore, is to hearken to and act in accordance with the promptings of the Inner Light in one’s life.  This description closely parallels George Fox’s original “opening” concerning the Light in 1648, as recorded in his Journal (Nickalls edition, p. 33).

A number of important characteristics of the Light can be readily inferred from this description. First, this Light is “divine” or “supernatural.” That is, it pertains to God and God’s activity. Numerous Friends, among them George Fox and Robert Barclay, have been urgent in cautioning us against confusing the Inner Light with such natural phenomena as reason or conscience, both of which are physically and socially conditioned. Rather, they have emphasized that the Light is God’s eternal and indwelling power resident within our mortal frames, there to enlighten and inform the natural reason and conscience with truth of a higher order.

This Light is personal. It is no mindless, purposeless, undifferentiated force or power. It is the mind and will of God – the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Sarah – who indwells our souls. To claim, as we do, that we are led or taught by the Light is to accept by inference that the power by which we are led or taught is capable of actively leading or teaching us. This requires a personal or theistic conception of the Spirit, which Friends have traditionally held.

This Light is saving. It is the instrument or means by which we are drawn into fullness and wholeness of life and right relationship to God, ourselves, and one another. It is not primarily through the mechanism of assent to certain theological propositions, however heartfelt, nor by participation in certain established rituals, however sincere, that one comes to be “saved” in Quaker faith and practice; it is chiefly through the operation of this Saving Light in human hearts – in the hearing and doing of the Living Word as inwardly revealed in the course of common life.

This Light is eternal. It was before time, is now, and will be forevermore. As the writer of John says, “in the beginning was the Word.” Friends have always identified the Inner Light with this “logos” or Eternal Word [Evangelical Friends however, say, as the book of John says, that this Logos is Jesus Christ the Son of God, not the Inner Light]. It is by this Eternal Light and Word that all of the saints and sages down through the ages have known and spoken the Truth. It is by this Light that the Holy Scriptures of the ages have been written (and must be read). It is by this Light that whatever is true, good, and beautiful has been brought forth in human community over time. This Light is and has always been the source and fountain of all human creativity.

This Light is resistible. It is not an inevitable force or automatic power; it can be resisted, ignored, or otherwise denied in the human heart. To quote C. S. Lewis, “God does not ravish; He only woos.” Although we receive this Light freely and from birth, we are free to choose whether or not and how to respond to its promptings. As someone once remarked, “We are predestinated and foreordained to decide for ourselves!”

This Light is persistent. The Light never ceases to make its Living Witness within each and every human heart, even when it is resisted. Although stubborn resistance and persistent disobedience may greatly dim its luminosity, the Light can never be fully extinguished within us. This is the unfailing love and mercy of God which passes all understanding.

This Light is pure. It is utterly infallible and perfectly good. Although we may err in our discernment of the Light’s witness within us, for any and all who turn to it in humility of heart, the Light is an inerrant guide to truth and wisdom. And, because it is the pure love of God within us, this Light is completely good and trustworthy.

This Light is ineffable. It defies complete and accurate description. Like much in the realm of spirit, the Light cannot be completely understood, but it can be experienced and known.

Lastly, and perhaps most important to the present discussion, this Light is unequivocally universal. It is freely given by God to each and every human being who comes into the world, regardless of race, sex, nationality, philosophical orientation, religious creed, or station in life. It is the divine birthright and inheritance of all, not the privileged possession of a few. To paraphrase the scripture, it is the Good News of God “preached to every creature under heaven” (Colossians 1:23).

Now it can readily be seen from these characteristics that the Quaker concept of the Inner Light is radically universalist in its thrust. As such, it offers a strong challenge to many of the exclusivist assumptions of conventional Christian faith. Here is where the tension between Christianity and Universalism in Quakerism begins to be felt.

It is hard to overstate, for instance, how radically different the Quaker view of salvation is from the popular Christian conception. According to our understanding of the Inner Light, any person of whatever religious persuasion, who turns in sincerity of heart to the Divine Light within, and lives in accordance with its promptings, will be saved. All of God’s children, Christians and non-Christians alike, have equal access to salvation through the Light.

This view constitutes an outright denial of the exclusivist Christian assumption that salvation comes only to those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and participate in certain established rituals of the Church. One need not be a professing Christian, in other words, to be saved; and many who are professing Christians are (apparently) not saved.

Similarly, Quaker Universalism challenges the now-prevalent evangelical Christian view that the Holy Spirit “comes into one’s heart,” presumably from outside, at the moment of conversion. Friends have testified throughout their history that this Holy Spirit is already resident as a Divine Seed in every human heart, waiting to be decisively accepted and nurtured through attentive obedience in daily life. This difference in viewpoint explains the real distinction between Quaker “convincement” and evangelical “conversion. ”

[Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI) today tends to explain away this Inner Light as being the Holy Spirit.  This is in direct contradiction to a statement made in 1877-1879 by one of its own regions, the Ohio Yearly Meeting (Gurneyite) – now the EFC-ER. The Ohio Yearly Meeting (Gurneyite) was the only Quaker yearly meeting ever to condemn George Fox’s Inner Light teaching. Also, the EFCI’s definition of the Inner Light as the Holy Spirit flies in the face of the previous paragraph, which explains clearly that the Inner Light is vastly different from the Christian doctrine of the Holy Spirit.]

Salvation and conversion are not the only fronts on which Quaker Universalism challenges conventional Christianity. From the beginning, for instance, Friends have vociferously challenged the fundamentalist Christian assumption that the Bible is the Word of God, insisting instead that the Holy Spirit, the Christ Within, is the Word of God. The Bible is a declaration of the fountain; it is not the fountain itself The fountain is Christ, the Living Word. George Fox argued disarmingly that, if the Bible were really the Word of God, then one could buy and sell the Word of God and carry it around in one’s pocket!

In a similar vein, the Quaker doctrine of “continuing revelation,” which says that God continues to reveal Truth to those who have ears to hear, directly challenges the fundamentalist Christian belief that God’s revelation was completed when the books of the biblical canon were finalized by the Church.

Quaker Universalism also challenges the conventional Christian definition of the Church, insisting that the Church is not a building. Nor is it an identifiable group of confessing Christians. It is, rather, the universal fellowship of all those persons, of whatever background or persuasion, who know and live in accordance with the Living Witness of God’s Light within them. Unlike the standard Christian definition, the Quaker definition of the Church embraces non-Christians, and even theoretically excludes professing Christians who have no real inward, life-changing experience of God. [Now this is a contradiction if every I’ve seen one. How can any non-Christian ever have a “real inward, life-changing experience of God”?]

These few examples should make it clear how deeply-rooted and fundamental the Universalist perspective is in Quakerism, and how profoundly, in turn, this perspective affects the Quaker approach to Christianity – so much so that Quakerism takes a strongly prophetic stance over and against a number of widely accepted interpretations of Christian faith.

It should also be clear, however, that Quaker Universalism, as we have described it here, has little or nothing to do with that brand of eclectic, humanist philosophy called “universalism” that is so prevalent in liberal Quaker circles today. This sort of pseudo-universalism – “pseudo” because it bears a superficial resemblance to Quaker Universalism, but is really contrary to it in a number of crucial ways – poses such an insidious threat to the true Quaker view that I would like to spend a few moments describing in more detail how the two are different.

[I must admit, in the following paragraphs, the author does a good job of condemning “pseudo-universalism” – what I would call Unitarian Universalism.]

While Quaker Universalism is strongly religious in content and devotional in orientation, pseudo-universalism typically maintains a pronounced philosophical detachment from all religious traditions (especially, as we shall see, from Christianity). Unlike Quaker Universalism, which calls for a faith commitment to a specific religious path, pseudo-universalism teaches non-adherence to any particular religion at all, referring a kind of smorgasbord approach to religious ideas instead.

Quaker Universalism acknowledges the differences between the major religions of the world, but calls them all to the same universal standard of Truth: the Living Witness of God within. Pseudo-universalism often ignores, trivializes and obfuscates the real differences between world religions, claiming that “all religions are essentially the same.” In effect, it denies all religions by affirming all equally and embracing none.

While Quaker Universalism is a specific religious path that leads the seeker toward transformation and salvation, pseudo-universalism institutionalizes seeking and is highly suspicious of finding in religious life. Partly because it considers the major religions of the world to be primitive (and therefore false?), and partly because it is highly intellectual in orientation, pseudo-universalism discourages the sort of existential faith commitment that is essential for real spiritual growth and transformation. It offers no genuine spiritual path of its own, while discouraging its adherents from embarking on any established path.

Because it is a view of religion and not a religion itself, and because it accepts no particular religious tradition as normative, pseudo-universalism has within it no principle whereby it can discriminate between what is true and what is false in any particular religious view. To what standard, for instance, would pseudo-universalism appeal regarding a membership application from an avowed practitioner of the religion of Satanism? Quaker Universalism, on the other hand, is founded on the premise that there is one true principle of discernment, and that is the Inner Light. In addition, as we shall see momentarily, although Quaker Universalism radically challenges Christianity at many points, it also has historically accepted Jesus Christ and the gospel tradition as normative for faithful living. [Yes and no. Quaker Univeralists profess Jesus as “Teacher and Lord,” but not as “Lord and Saviour.” In another blog, I quoted a liberal Friends General Conference fellow who sang, “I’m not a Christian but I’m a Quaker, I’ve got Christ’s Inner Light but he’s not my Saviour.” What an abomination.]

Lastly, while Quaker Universalism is firmly rooted in the Christian tradition (albeit not always comfortable with it), pseudo-universalism often acts as a smoke screen for anti-Christian sentiment. In my conversations with Friends who have been influenced by this kind of universalism, I frequently encounter significant discomfort with, if not open hostility to, Christians and the Christian faith. This, of course, is in direct contradiction to their own professed principles. To this sort of universalist, it seems, all religions are equal except Christianity!

Perhaps you have heard of H. L. Mencken’s famous definition of a “puritan” as someone who is obsessed with the fear that somehow, somewhere, someone is having fun? The pseudo-universalist is one who is obsessed with the fear that somehow, somewhere, someone has “gotten religion,” especially the Christian religion.

As you can see, the two types of universalism, while similar on the surface, are as different as night and day. It is easy to see why pseudo-universalism is uncomfortable with the practice of Christianity. The two are philosophically incompatible. True Quaker Universalism, however, has a uniquely symbiotic relationship with Christianity. And this brings us to the Christian side of the equation.

If I did not make the Christian party happy with my remarks on Quaker Universalism, it is certain that I will not make the Quaker Universalist party happy with my remarks on Christianity. As we have seen, Christian Quakers have to accept the fact that Quakerism is radically universalist in its interpretation of Christianity. Universalist Quakers, on the other hand, have to accept the fact that Quakerism is radically Christian in its interpretation of Universalism. For, the truth is that, despite its somewhat testy relationship with conventional Christianity, Quakerism is and always has been decidedly Christian.

We have already sketched how the Quaker view of Christianity is distinctively Universalist. How is the Quaker view of Universalism distinctively Christian? It is really quite simple: Friends have always identified the Inner Light with the living Christ. Christ, in Quaker theology, is the Light [but non-evangelical Quakers do not believe that we are saved by accepting Christ as our Saviour]. “There is One, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition,” said the voice to George Fox at the moment of his convincement [notice again that the author uses the term “convincement” – which is vastly different from “conversion”]. And this Christ Jesus, Fox perceived and subsequently preached, was the Eternal Risen Christ, the Light of the World, come to teach all people who would hear his voice, not just professing Christians. To be Quaker is to be a follower of Christ, Who witnesses Within each one of us as we walk through life.

This strict equivalency of Christ with the Inner Light is the key to understanding how it is that Christianity and Universalism are so inextricably bound together in Quaker faith and practice. Not only is it possible to be both Christian and Universalist at the same time; it is the very essence and peculiar genius of Quakerism to marry the two in one powerful synthesis through the doctrine of the Inner Light. In the final analysis, the Quaker doctrine of the Inner Light is really a radically Universalist interpretation of the Christian doctrine of the Holy Spirit. To be Quaker is, therefore, to be radically Christian.

As a result of this unique marriage that Quakerism has effected, the quintessentially exclusivist text of the Christian faith – “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes unto the Father except by me” (John 14:6) – is transformed into a powerful Universalist message for the whole world. Friends have witnessed for 350 years that the Light of Christ Within is indeed the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to God except by it. This Light is the universal, saving, eternal, personal, resistible, persistent, and pure witness of God within every human heart, and no one is excluded from partaking of its riches. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, “Christ has returned, and everyone is invited to the reception!”

And, how fortunate for both Christianity and Universalism that Quakerism has joined them together. Fully embedded in the context of Christianity, Quaker Universalism is richly informed by all of the pregnant imagery and profound meaning of the Judeo-Christian tradition and the transforming story of Jesus Christ. In the Quaker synthesis, Christianity saves Universalism from the vapid sterility of mere abstraction. Universalism, in turn, saves Christianity from the spiritual poison of religious parochialism and exclusivity. The two not only complement each other, they are essential to one another.

In the end, the marriage metaphor we have been using is not very satisfactory, for it implies a kind of voluntary association that is not applicable here. The union of Christianity and Universalism in Quakerism is one of mutual entailment – more like two sides of one coin than like a marriage. Friends on both sides of the discussion need to face the fact that divorce is out of the question. Quakerism is, by definition, both Universalist and Christian at the same time.

After reading the above defense of Quaker universalism – and the damage the Inner Light teaching has done to evangelical Christianity – how could any member of the Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI) accept or fellowship with non-evangelical universalist Quaker denominations?

Amazingly, the EFCI is proud of its Quaker ecumenism with all non-evangelical Quaker groups. If we dig beneath the surface, we find that non-evangelical Quakers have many ungodly beliefs and practices – everything from universalist Quakers to LGBT Quakers to atheist Quakers to Buddhist Quakers.

There is no way around it. To insist on ecumenism with non-evangelical Quaker groups is, in essence, to endorse the heresies of these non-evangelical Quaker groups. Leaders in the EFCI who insist on Quaker ecumenism know very well the heresies of these non-evangelical groups, yet they still proclaim “let the conversation continue.” What an abomination!

Edward Mott, one of my favorite fundamentalist Evangelical Friends, warned against Quaker ecumenism. Tragically, Quakers eventually ignored the warnings of Mott and others, developing ecumenical ties with non-evangelical Quakers. Click here for my blog about Edward Mott, in which I included the following quote:

“Edward Mott, who was a leading minister and teacher in [Northwest Yearly Meeting] for many years earlier in [the twentieth century], strongly and bitterly opposed any moves toward ecumenical contacts or fellowship among what were then much more fragmented groups of Friends. In his memoir, Sixty Years of Gospel Ministry, published in the late 1940s, he insisted, as he had for decades, that such efforts “cannot have the blessing of the Lord upon them.” In fact, he insisted that “The attempt to fellowship and work with unbelievers [which is what he considered other Friends to be–Ed.] spells death. Any conclusion to the contrary is ruinous to all concerned.”

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(revised 08/14/12)

I have been researching the Quaker heresy of the “Inner Light.”  Many believe George Fox came up with this mystic concept (although he used wording slightly different from the “Inner Light”). On the contrary, the concept existed in world religions and in philosophy long before Fox (I hope to write more on this in future blogs).

In another blog I critiqued the Inner Light beliefs of non-evangelical Quakers. The following little chorus helps presents a clear picture of heresy in the Inner Light teaching. Here is the pertinent YouTube video. The congregation seems to be entertained by the singer, yet I found the following excerpt from the lyrics to be almost blasphemous (click on “show more” below the video to view the lyrics):

I’m not a Christian but I’m a Quaker
I’ve got Christ’s inner light but he’s not my savior…
Now I’m a liberal Friend
That means F-G-C… [Friends General Conference]
[emphasis mine][The above phrases are sung not once, but three times during the song – shocking.]

Born again Christians vary in their views of George Fox and the early Quakers. Some (such as fundamentalist evangelical Quaker Edward Mott – one of my favorites) hold a positive view. Namely they feel that up until the late 1700s, the Quakers were wonderful, born again Christian evangelists, and that Fox’s “Inner Light” teaching was secondary to their biblically sound beliefs. Others believe these Quakers were unsaved, heretical mystics from the get-go, and that the Inner Light teaching was primary, causing huge doctrinal problems in the Quaker movement immediately. Obviously, all we have to go on are the original writings of George Fox, William Barclay, etc. And these writings are interpreted in different ways by writers, theologians, etc.  –  often depending on their personal doctrinal beliefs.

Of the two contrasting views above, I take the view that Fox’s teaching was heretical and demonic from the get-go. The fact that Fox even came up with the Inner Light teaching shows his incredibly gross misinterpretation of Scriptures such as John 1:9 (see below). Nowhere does the Bible state specifically that there is “that of God in every man” – i.e. that God is in every man and woman.

It is significant that Fox believed we need neither preachers nor God’s Word the Bible , but that  we can receive revelation from God directly. This flies in the face of God’s Word itself, which states:

14) How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  15) And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!  16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?  17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God18) But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. (Rom. 10:14-18, KJV)

Why did Fox so eagerly grasp at straws in claiming John 1:9 referred to an “Inner Light” (see below) – yet ignore the clearly stated verses above? There should be no question as the meaning of Rom. 10:14-18.

Fox laments that, in essence, he heard no preachers present the true Word of God. But was this the case? Was Fox not exposed to any born again, bibical preachers with the gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ (John Chapter 3)? I am researching this.

It would be interesting to find out if Fox was influenced by other teachers and writers of his time period. (I read somewhere that there were contemporaries of Fox who were teaching similar heresies.)

I have located various Christian articles criticizing the “Inner Light” concept as taught by George Fox.  I am providing this Wikipedia article, not because I agree with non-evangelical Quaker positions on the Inner Light. I am providing this Wikipedia info merely for born again Christians to research the non-evangelical positions on this.

I found this Wikipedia article on the “Inner Light” to be very interesting. The article is not without its errors, however (click on the “Discussion” tab above the article to see some of the errors in the article). Also, looking at the article footnotes, you will see that the sources are non-evangelical, thus the article is one-sided.

Following you will find the Wikipedia article, copied almost verbatim. Note, in case you are wondering – I checked Wikipedia’s copyright rules – Wikipedia allows users to copy content. I have emphasized certain points by bolding and [bracketing]:

Inner Light
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Inner Light is a concept which many Quakers, members of the Religious Society of Friends, use to express their conscience, faith and beliefs. Each Quaker has a different idea of what they mean by “inner light”, and this also varies internationally between Yearly Meetings, but the idea is often taken to refer to God’s presence within a person, and to a direct and personal experience of God. [Non-evangelical] Quakers believe that God speaks to everyone, and that in order to hear God’s voice, it helps to be still and actively listen for it.

This is often done in meeting for worship; Pierre Lacout, in Quaker Faith and Practice, described a “silence which is active” causing the Inner Light to “glow”.[1]

They believe not only that individuals can be guided by this Inner Light, but that Friends might meet together and receive collective guidance from God by sharing the concerns and leadings that he gives to individuals.[2] In a Friends meeting it is usually called “ministry” when a person shares aloud what the Inner Light is saying to him or her.

Related terms for Inner Light include Light of God, Light of Christ, Christ within, Spirit of God within us, and Light within. These are often used interchangeably by modern and arguably early Friends. Some people also identify it with the expression “that of God in everyone,” which was first used by one of the co-founders of the Society of Friends, George Fox.

The related term Inward Light appears in older Quaker writings, but is not used as often now. Originally, Inward Light was used much more often than Inner Light.[3] This term evokes an image of people being illuminated by the light of God or Christ, rather than having a light of their own inside them. The terms are now often used interchangeably.

Basis

Quaker belief in the Inner Light extends back to founder George Fox.

The Quaker belief that an Inner Light resides in each person is based in part on a passage from the New Testament, namely John 1:9, which says, “That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” [Non-evangelical] Friends [incorrectly] emphasize the part of the verse that [supposedly] indicates that every person is born with the Light within him or her. [I cannot emphasize enough here – the Inner Light is not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells born again believers only – not every man and woman that is born.] Early Friends took this verse as one of their mottoes and often referred to themselves as “Children of the Light.”

The principal founder of what became the Religious Society of Friends, George Fox, claimed that he had a direct experience of God. Having explored various sects and listened to an assortment of preachers, he finally concluded that none of them were adequate to be his ultimate guide. At that point he reported hearing a voice that told him, “There is one, even Jesus Christ, that can speak to thy condition.” He felt that God wanted him to teach others that they need not depend on human teachers or guides either, because each one of them could experience God directly and hear his voice within. [I’m wondering, did George Fox hear a voice telling him every person could experience God directly? If so, this would seem to me to be a demonic message to George Fox. The Bible says to avoid “doctrines of demons.” Looking at the incredible damage the Inner Light teaching has caused to Christendom, this certainly could be considered a “doctrine of demons.”]  He wrote in his journal, “I was glad that I was commanded to turn people to that inward light, spirit, and grace, by which all might know their salvation, and their way to God; even that divine Spirit which would lead them into all Truth, and which I infallibly knew would never deceive any.”[4] Fox taught: that Christ, the Light, had come to teach his people himself; that “people had no need of any teacher but the Light that was in all men and women” (the anointing they had received);[4] if people would be silent, waiting on God, the Light would teach them how to conduct their lives, teach them about Christ, show them the condition of their hearts; they loving the Light, it would rid them of the “cause of sin”; and soon after, Christ would return in his glory to establish his Kingdom in their hearts. Fox called the Light destroying sin within as the Cross of Christ, the Power of God.

Regarding this, Fox wrote, “Now ye that know the power of God and are come to it—which is the Cross of Christ, that crucifies you to the state that Adam and Eve were in in the fall, and so to the world—by this power of God ye come to see the state they were in before they fell, which power of God is the Cross, in which stands the everlasting glory; which brings up into the righteousness, holiness and image of God, and crucifies to the unrighteousness, unholiness and image of Satan.” The Cross is no “dead fact stranded on the shore of the oblivious years,” but is to be a living experience deep in the heart of the believer, and changing his whole life. “You that know the power and feel the power, you feel the Cross of Christ, you feel the Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” All real experience of the Cross must lead, he thought, to the same way of life that brought the Master there— to the way of humility and non-resistance, of overcoming evil by the sole force of love and goodness. To Fox it seemed that a high profession of Christianity often went with a way of life in flagrant opposition to this. He writes to the persecutors: “Your fruits have manifested that you are not of this (wisdom from above); and so out of the power of God which is the Cross of Christ; for you are found in the world, out of the power of God, out of the Cross of Christ, persecuting.”[5]

Later, Robert Barclay, an apologist for the Society of Friends, wrote: “This most certain doctrine being then received, that there is an evangelical and saving Light and grace in all, the universality of the love and mercy of God towards mankind, both in the death of his beloved Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the manifestation of the Light in the heart, is established and confirmed, against all the objections of such as deny it.” As the quotations demonstrate, both Barclay and Fox connected the Light not only with an experiential knowledge of God but with the grace and mercy that leads to salvation from sin and acceptance by God.

Universalism

Based on the teachings of Fox, Barclay, and other respected leaders, the liberal branches of the Society of Friends subscribe, in one form or another, to Universalism. Some Friends today subscribe to Christian Universalism, which is the belief that all people are already saved from sin, or eventually will be saved from it, through the death of Jesus and the presence of His Spirit within. In other words, because the Light is within everyone, nobody will end up condemned to hell. Other Friends, such as the Quaker Universalist Group, go further and believe in Universalism in the broader sense. They believe that people need not acknowledge Jesus Christ at all – that people of any faith or even no faith are indwelt by the Light and therefore do not need to be saved. A third segment of the Society of Friends, Evangelical Friends, are not universalists. They believe that all people have the Light within them and have the possibility of being saved, but that only those who avail themselves of the Light and accept the salvation provided by Jesus Christ actually are saved. [As a birthright member of the  Ohio Yearly Meeting (Gurneyite), I can say this is not what evangelical Friends have traditionally believed.  The Ohio Yearly Meeting, which now belongs to  today’s  EFCI denomination, condemned the Inner Light teaching in 1877-1879. Unfortunately, today the EFCI seems to be placating non-evangelical Quaker denominations with which it has ecumenical ties. Specifically, the EFCI has relegated this very serious Inner Light controversy to the place of a non-issue.]

Contrast with other inner sources

It is important to note that many Friends consider this divine guidance (or “promptings” or “leadings of the Spirit“) distinct both from impulses originating within oneself and from generally agreed-on moral guidelines. In fact, as Marianne McMullen pointed out, a person can be prompted to say something in meeting that is contrary to what he or she thinks.[6] In other words, Friends do not usually consider the Inner Light the conscience or moral sensibility but something higher and deeper that informs and sometimes corrects these aspects of human nature.

Contrast with rules and creeds

Historically, Friends have been suspicious of formal creeds or religious philosophy that is not grounded in one’s own experience. Instead one must be guided by the Inward Teacher, the Inner Light. This is not, however, a release for Friends to decide and do whatever they want; it is incumbent upon Friends to consider the wisdom of other Friends, as one must listen for the Inner Light of others as well as their own. Friends have various established procedures for collectively discerning and following the Spirit while making decisions.

Friends procedure is to collect together their best advice in a book of “Faith and Practice,” which is revised gradually over time. Many or most books of Faith and Practice contain the following, which was originally attached to a list of “Advices” published in 1656, and illustrates Friends’ emphasis on the Inner Light:

Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by, but that all, with the measure of light which is pure and holy, may be guided: and so in the light walking and abiding, these may be fulfilled in the Spirit, not from the letter, for the letter [the Bible?] killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.[7]

In the Bible

Friends are not in complete agreement on the importance of the Inner Light in relation to the Bible. Most Friends, especially in the past, have looked to the Bible as a source of wisdom and guidance [I would not say this is necessarily true – over the last few centuries, some Quaker denominations have consistently revered and respected the Bible less than others]. Many, if not most of them, have considered the Bible a book inspired by God. [Again, I would not say most considered the Bible as inspired.] But [non-evangelical] Quakers have generally tended to regard present, personal direction from God more authoritative than the text of the Bible. [Those studying Spiritual Formation should see a similarity between Contemplative Prayer/Contemplative Spirituality and the Inner Light. Both are extra-biblical. In both, one can receive direction revelation of so-called “Truth” from God, apart from God’s Word the Bible.] Early Quakers, like George Fox and Robert Barclay, did not believe that promptings which were truly from the Spirit within would contradict the Bible. They did, however, believe that to correctly understand the Bible, one needed the Inner Light  to clarify it and guide one in applying its teachings to current situations [if this statement is referring to the Inner Light as anything other than the Holy Spirit here, it is heretical]. In the United States [starting] in the nineteenth century some Friends concluded that others of their faith were using the concept of the Inner Light to justify unbiblical views. These “Orthodox” Friends held that the Bible was more authoritative than the Inner Light and should be used to test personal leadings [this is the branch of Quakers I grew up in – the Evangelical Friends, now the EFCI denomination]. Friends remain formally, but usually respectfully, divided on the matter.

Notes

  1. ^ Pierre Lacout (1969). “Quaker Faith and Practice; Chapter 2 – Silent Waiting”. Britain Yearly Meeting. Retrieved 2008-03-26. “In silence which is active, the Inner Light begins to glow – a tiny spark…”
  2. ^ Britain Yearly Meeting (1994). “Quaker Faith and Practice (Third edition) – Advices and Queries”. Britain Yearly Meeting. Retrieved 2008-03-26. “We can worship alone, but when we join with others in expectant waiting we may discover a deeper sense of God’s presence.”
  3. ^ Richard Vann. “Review of Rosemary Moore, The Light in Their Consciences: The Early Quakers in Britain 1646-1666,” H-Albion, H-Net Reviews, July, 2001.
  4. ^ a b Quotes by George Fox in his journal
  5. ^ Edward Grubb (1925). “Quaker Thought & History; Chapter 1 – George Fox and Christian Theology”. The MacMillan Company. Retrieved 2008-12-17. “Now ye that know the power of God and are come to it— which is the Cross of Christ…”
  6. ^ Margaret Hope Bacon, 1986
  7. ^ NY Yearly Meeting on FaithExternal links
Wikisource has the text of a 1920 Encyclopedia Americana article about Inner light.

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(revised 09/11/14)

Members of the EFCI may be shocked to find that, in 1993, there was talk  underway of possibly realigning the FUM. If that had taken place, it is very likely the FUM and EFCI would have merged.

Here is what’s so shocking to me about this “near-event.” Although they may describe themselves as evangelical, the FUM is not an evangelical denomination. The many differences between the FUM and the EFCI can be seen in a detailed history of the FUM.

Still, of all Quaker denominations, the FUM is probably the nearest in theology to EFCI.  In a nutshell, here is a listing of several Quaker denominations and their theologies:

EFCI – evangelical (I would say it is becoming “progressive evangelical”)
FUM – “middle-of-the-road”
FGC – liberal

Following are two more groups of North American Quakers:

Conservative
Independent

There are other Quaker denominations as well, but the above five are the major groups/denominations.

Back to my point: in 1993 the FUM apparently came very close to merging with the traditionally evangelical EFCI. Was the EFCI opposed to this? Or, on the contrary, was the EFCI open to this?

Following are some excerpts from an article describing the FUM “Realignment Controversy” in the early 1990s. The entire article can be viewed by clicking on the title of the following article. I have emphasized certain points by bolding and [bracketing]:

Realignment Among North American Friends?
by Bill Samuel
Originally published August 1, 2000 at Suite101.com

The Realignment Debate and FUM’s Direction

The 1990-93 Triennium of Friends United Meeting (FUM) was marked by an energetic debate over a possible “realignment” among Friends and the fallout from that debate. Stephen Main, FUM General Secretary, early in the Triennium began speaking out calling for such a realignment. Main saw a real problem in the lack of true unity in FUM on the centrality of Jesus Christ because of the many Friends in the united yearly meetings who didn’t share this understanding of the Quaker faith.

Main saw [FUM] Friends as being basically in two camps. One camp was strongly centered in Jesus Christ and committed to spreading the Christian gospel. The other camp was “universalist” in approach, and accepting of other spiritual paths as being equally valid as the Christian path. Main felt that each camp could be most effective if it was united in working from its perspective, and not trying to bridge the gap between the two perspectives. He saw the presence of universalist Friends from the united yearly meetings in the basically Christ-centered FUM as being divisive and eroding FUM’s effectiveness. [Interesting. In a supposedly non-evangelical Quaker denomination, a Secretary was taking a biblical stance and opposing universalists!]

Structurally, the realignment position suggested the joining together of Evangelical Friends International (EFI) and Christ-centered FUM Friends into one association. Universalist Friends would not fit into this association, potentially resulting in splits within some of the yearly meetings affiliated with FUM. Only one FUM yearly meeting minuted support for realignment, and a number of yearly meetings expressed strong opposition. Main wound up resigning before the end of his three-year term. [Hmmm, interesting – and sad. It sounds almost as if Main was a “lone ranger” in standing up for biblical Truth.]

Although the idea of realignment did not obtain widespread support within FUM at that time, the issue did prompt major attention to examining the purpose of FUM. The resulting discernment process led to FUM adopting the following purpose statement in 1993:

Friends United Meeting commits itself to energize and equip Friends through the power of the Holy Spirit to gather people into fellowships where Jesus Christ is known, loved and obeyed as Teacher and Lord.

[Warning – the FUM phrase “Teacher and Lord” is a phrase used by non-born again, non-evangelical Quakers. It should throw up a big red flag. Among EFCI Quakers who still proudly proclaim themselves as born again, the phrase “Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord” would be usedSaviour being the key word. In my lifetime, I have never heard anyone in the EFC-ER (my Region of the EFCI) refer to Jesus Christ as “Teacher and Lord”.

Also note: an FUM realignment would have resulted in part of the FUM perhaps merging with the evangelical EFCI, and the other part likely becoming more “Quaker universalist”. Instead, the entire FUM remained intact. By rejecting any realignment, the entire FUM in essence chose to remain staunchly non-born again/non-evangelical.]

The Picture Since FUM’s 1993 Purpose Statement

The FUM General Secretary appointed after Main’s resignation, Johan Maurer, resigned that position this year to join the pastoral team at an EFI church [interesting – and scary – the FUM emphasizes the Inner Light over being born again, yet Maurer joined the pastor team of a “born again” EFI church]. In a closing message to the FUM community, Maurer noted, “Eventually it will make sense for Friends United Meeting and Evangelical Friends International to merge…” (Quaker Life, July/August 2000, page 4) While he did not use the term realignment and did not address the broader issues raised by such a possible merger, it seems to me his assessment brings back to the public arena the concerns raised by his predecessor.

The approach taken by FUM was to be unambiguously Christ-centered and evangelical [evangelical? – I don’t think so], while allowing room for the united yearly meetings which don’t themselves take that stance to remain active in FUM. Those yearly meetings have remained in FUM, and do not appear to have done anything overtly to challenge the stance of FUM. But beyond that, how successful has FUM been with this approach?

In its World Ministries work, the work outside North America, this approach has had some success. FUM has greatly increased the number of field staff abroad, whose support largely comes from earmarked contributions. After many years of fairly steady-state operations, this is noteworthy. But FUM still is not opening up new areas for planting churches like Evangelical Friends Mission (the missions arm of EFI) has done.

In its work in North America, the picture has been somewhat grim. FUM has had serious problems raising money for its regular budget, out of which most of this work is funded. It has faced a series of budget and staff reductions. Directly related to the newly declared purpose, FUM tried to start a program to help people plant new meetings/churches. But that fell victim to resource problems. Now FUM tells people that they must look to local or yearly meetings for this support. But the united yearly meetings generally aren’t involved, and are unlikely to become involved, in starting the kinds of meetings/churches described in FUM’s purpose statement. FUM now takes an approach focused on networking among constituent yearly meetings rather than FUM programs themselves in its North American work. This means that the extent to which FUM’s purpose statement actually translates to activity varies enormously in areas where FUM-affiliated yearly meetings operate.

The Future of North American Friends

There are real obstacles to organizational realignment that, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has yet come up with good ways to overcome. Most notably, we have the issue of the united yearly meetings which generally lean more to the universalist end of the spectrum, but which contain individuals and sometimes meetings which are oriented towards FUM’s purpose. How do we avoid leaving those Christ-centered Friends hanging out there, without solid ties to a larger grouping that shares their vision? [Interesting – it appears there are various “concerned” Quakers who I could network with to various degrees in forming “confessing ministries.”] I agree with the implication in Maurer’s statement that organizational realignment will not come quickly. But I think leaders among Friends need to keep this question in their minds so that some way forward may emerge. And I also think that the movement, while not very visible as well as being tender and small, towards independent worship groups and meetings centered on Christ within the geographical confines of the united yearly meetings may wind up playing a significant role in how this all works out in the next couple of decades.
——————————————————————————————-
These events occurred 18 years ago. What are the associations, the conferences, the transfer of pastors now between the EFC-ER, the other EFCI Regions, and all the non-evangelical Quaker denominations?
——————————————————————————————–

Click here for a history of FUM crises between 1988-2008.

Fortunately, the FUM and EFCI did not merge. But that is not the end of the story. The FUM and EFCI still maintain many close ties. For example, representatives (denominational leaders, and pastors) from the EFCI meet at various gatherings with representatives from other Quaker denominations on a regular basis (annually, triannually, etc.). To me this is unacceptable. Why does the EFCI, a supposedly evangelical denomination, meet at all with non-evangelical Quaker denominations? It seems that the bond with other Quakers (no matter what their theology) is more important to the EFCI than the bond of fellowship between born again believers.

I will provide more details on intra-Quaker associations as I locate them. I believe this is something born again members of the EFCI should keep a close eye on and be very concerned about.

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(revised 09/11/14)

I am proud to have been brought up in the born again, separatist fundamentalist, Wesleyan Holiness tradition, in the only Quaker Yearly Meeting which (to my knowledge) has ever condemned George Fox’s “Inner Light” teaching. Namely, Ohio Yearly Meeting (OYM) (Gurneyite), in 1877-1879.

Yet, today, many in the OYM (now called the Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region aka EFC-ER) and apparently consider this a non-issue. Plus,  more and more churches in the EFC-ER are drifting away from Wesleyan Holiness teachings and entertaining Postmodern aka Emerging/Emergent views. But I digress – in this blog I am focusing on the issue of George Fox’s “Inner Light”.

For all intents and purposes, all non-evangelical Quaker denominations today have one teaching in common: George Fox’s mystic, heretical teaching of “the Inner Light.” (Forms of this teaching actually existed before George Fox – more on this in another blog).

The “Inner Light” means different things to different Quaker denominations. Some individuals in the Evangelical Friends Church International aka EFCI (of which the EFC-ER is a part) seem to be “pulling one over” on the remaining born again, biblically sound Evangelical Friends by saying “the Inner Light is the indwelling Holy Spirit.”  But taken to its logical conclusion, this is like comparing apples with oranges. The Holy Spirit does not dwell in every human being. The Holy Spirit does not reside in unregenerate individuals. Therefore the Holy Spirit cannot be “the Inner Light”, “the light of Christ in every man” that George Fox taught.

There are many aspects of the “Inner Light” teaching I could discuss, but I will only cover one aspect here. Non-evangelical Quakers who strongly hold to the “Inner Light” teaching reject the teaching of Jesus as our Saviour, redeeming us through “The Blood and The Cross” (as per John Chapter 3).

For example, I stumbled across a pertinent YouTube video while Googling for videos on Quakers. The congregation seems to be entertained by the singer, yet I found the following excerpt from the lyrics to be almost blasphemous (click here to view all the lyrics):

I’m not a Christian but I’m a Quaker
I’ve got Christ’s inner light but he’s not my savior…
Now I’m a liberal Friend
That means F-G-C… [Friends General Conference]
[emphasis mine][The above phrases are sung not once, but three times during the song – shocking.]

A member of the FGC maintaining he is not a Christian, but a Quaker? I guess this shouldn’t surprise me – there are also Universalist Quakers, nontheist (atheist) Quakers, and Quakers of many other heretical stripes.

And as mentioned previously, all non-evangelical Quakers today seem to believe in some form of “Inner Light” teaching. Question: do Convergent Friends hope to unite all these types of Quakers with evangelical (EFCI) Quakers? If so, we are truly headed towards a “Unitarian Universalist” Quakerism.

Having grown up in what is now the EFCI, I know that most Evangelical Friends/Quakers consider the “Inner Light” teaching a minor part of their heritage – if they know of the “Inner Light” teaching at all. This is not true of non-evangelical Quakers.

Check out the following excerpts, from an article on the Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) at Religion Resources Online.org. I have emphasized certain points by bolding and [bracketing]:

The theological beliefs of different Yearly Meetings vary considerably, ranging from evangelical Christianity to universalist and new thought beliefs. Some Yearly Meetings (especially those in parts of the US and Africa affiliated to Friends United Meeting) consider Christ their teacher and Lord. Other yearly meetings (especially those in parts of the US, Asia and Central America which are affiliated to Evangelical Friends Church International) regard Christ as their Lord and savior. Other yearly meetings, especially those in parts of the US which are affiliated to the wider fellowship of conservative Friends, trust in the immediate guidance of an inward Christ [the Inner Light]. There is often a large variety of theological belief in some other yearly meetings (often termed liberal yearly meetings such as those in parts of the US affiliated to Friends General Conference, many yearly meetings in Europe and Australia/New Zealand and the Beanite yearly meetings in western United States), with meetings often having a large proportion of liberal Christians and universalist Christians some of whom trust in the guidance of an inward Christ or inner light, with some non-theists, agnostics, and, as well as some who are also members of other religions, although even amongst liberal yearly meetings this is controversial. Common ideas among members of these liberal Yearly Meetings include a belief of “that of God in everyone”, and shared values (such as to peace, equality and simplicity).

The predominant theological beliefs of different Yearly Meetings do not tally exactly with the style of service, but there is often some co-relation, with many Yearly Meetings that hold programmed worship having more evangelical theological beliefs, and those with unprogrammed worship tending to have more liberal theological beliefs.

Modern Friends, particularly those in the liberal Yearly Meetingss, often express their beliefs in many ways, including the attitude of trying to see or appeal to “[the light] of God in everyone”; finding and relating to “the Inner light”, “the inward Christ”, or “the spirit of Christ within.” Early Friends more often used terms such as “Truth”, “the Seed”, and “the Pure Principle”, from the idea that each person would be transformed as Christ formed and grew in them. The intention to “see the light” or see “that of God in everyone” is an effort in Quakers to cast aside more superficial differences and focus on the good that they believe all people have in common.

Unlike other Christian denominations, some branches of Quakerism completely reject all forms of religious symbolism and outward sacraments, such as baptism or celebrating the Eucharist. [Many groups of] Quakers also believe in continuing revelation, with the idea that God speaks directly to any person, without the need for any middle-man. For this reason, many deny the idea of priests or holy people, but believe in the priesthood of all believers, and reject the doctrine of sola scriptura. The idea of an inner light (or inward light) of Christ is important to many Quakers: the idea that there is that of God within everyone, guiding them through their lives.

I know, I know, the above is confusing. I hope to list each Quaker denomination, with a doctrinal statement from each denomination regarding the Inner Light and salvation.

Question: why does the EFCI, which claims to believe in salvation through Christ, insist on  associating with non-evangelical, non-believing, “Inner Light”-based Quaker denominations under the umbrella of the FWCC?

The Bible warns us to not associate with unbelievers; the EFCI needs to heed this warning:

14) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  15) And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16) And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  17) Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.  18) And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (II Cor. 6:14-18, KJV)[emphasis mine]

I find it very interesting that EFCI’s Richard Foster and his mentor Dallas Willard, so knowledgable of Quaker theology and the heretical Inner Light teaching,  pioneered the Spiritual Formation movement. As it turns out, there are many similarities between the Inner Light teaching and Spiritual Formation teachings. And it is no coincidence that Foster and Willard viewed George Fox as a great man with great teachings. What an abomination! I hope to discuss these similarities more in other blogs. For now, here are some links for further research:

1) http://apprising.org/2006/09/28/richard-foster-and-quaker-inner-light/

2) http://apprising.org/2008/08/25/contemplating-the-inner-light-of-the-quakers/

3) http://apprising.org/2008/08/25/contemplating-the-inner-light-of-the-quakers-pt-2/

4) http://apprising.org/2008/10/22/richard-foster-and-quaker-beliefs/

5) http://apprising.org/2008/11/07/quaker-mystic-richard-foster-circumnavigate-inconsistencies-in-the-bible/

6) http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=4659

7) Excerpts from a book by David Cloud. The first section deals with Richard Foster, the Inner Light, and Quakers:
http://dtbrents.wordpress.com/2008/10/22/contemplative-mysticism-a-powerful-ecumenical-bond/

8) The following article discusses heretical aspects of Quakerism, including the Inner Light teaching. I searched for the word “Quaker” in the article and came up with 134 hits:

http://noheresy.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/from-mysticism-to-the-gospel3.pdf

I also found the article here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/48067967/From-Mysticism-to-the-Gospel-Paul-Dan

9) http://www.danielrevelationbiblestudies.com/020420063.htm

10) The following article has various references to Quakers:
http://www.bible-doctrine.org/Renovare_Analysis.htm

11) This is a expose of Willow Creek Church’s involvement in Spiritual Formation. It makes numerous references to Quakers:
http://www.cephas-library.com/renovare_willow_creek.html

12) Now this is scary – an excerpt from a FUM Quaker article (non-evangelical):
During the month of May [2006], The Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible appeared in bookstores…  For Friends, it was a great month; for the first time a study Bible was released that reflected Quaker theology.“There is a great deal of Quaker thinking in this Bible,” stated Richard Foster, Editor. “One of the great gifts Quakerism has is that its greatest treasures are focal and very foundational Quaker insights are found in the pages of this Bible.” [The article goes on to discuss other Quaker involvement with this so-called bible.]
Source: http://www.fum.org/QL/issues/0506/foster.htm

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